How Did Speculators Take Advantage of the Homestead Act

How Did Speculators Take Advantage of the Homestead Act

Photo Courtesy: National Park Service

Many historians consider the Homestead Act one of the most important pieces of legislation ever passed in the Us. President Abraham Lincoln signed the Homestead Human action into law in 1862 in order to provide more than people with the opportunity to get landowners.

To best sympathise why this law became so meaningful, information technology helps to accept a deeper await at what the rules of the Homestead Act involved and why it played such a big part in the settlement of the American West. Exploring the pros and cons of the Homestead Human action — and checking out a National Park that’southward defended to the era — farther demonstrates the significance of this constabulary.

How Did the Homestead Human action Work?

The Homestead Human activity created a law that gave people from all walks of life the opportunity to become landowners, and information technology as well encouraged people to movement to the western office of the land and begin settling it. As President Lincoln himself put information technology, the purpose of the act was “to drag the condition of men, to lift bogus burdens from all shoulders and to give anybody an unfettered start and a fair chance in the race of life.”

Photograph Courtesy: National Archives

The provisions of the Homestead Act allowed virtually anyone who was willing to piece of work hard to claim a 160-acre area of land for a filing fee of $18. In order to continue the land, all the same, homesteaders had to meet certain requirements. To go landowners, they had to:

  • Exist at to the lowest degree 21 years of age or the head of a household
  • Agree to live on the land, build a abode on it, farm it and make improvements to information technology for at to the lowest degree five years
  • Certify that they had never borne artillery against the United States, pregnant they had never fought confronting the country
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Once a homesteader had claimed a piece of land and fulfilled all of the requirements, they had to notice at least 2 neighbors who could verify they were following the rules. At the terminate of 5 years, they were considered “proved up” and would receive a patent for the land that made them the official owners. Soldiers who had fought for the Union during the U.S. Ceremonious War were allowed to subtract the time they served in the war from the 5-year requirement. If people were willing to spend $200 for their 160-acre parcels, they only needed to reside on the land for six months to establish residency before beingness granted official ownership.

One of the most of import benefits of the Homestead Act was that information technology gave women, formerly enslaved people and newly arrived immigrants the chance to get landowners when they previously hadn’t had the opportunity to do so. The human activity made huge amounts of land bachelor to the public and resulted in the settlement of 270 million acres, which was around 10% of the full area of the United States.

The Homestead Human action was a benign opportunity for many people who might never have otherwise been able to afford large amounts of land. On the other hand, it did require new landowners to build and run farms, which many people also couldn’t beget to do.

Photo Courtesy: National Park Service

The act did, however, end up leading the Usa’ expansion into the West. Claims were filed in 30 states, with much of the land existence settled in Montana, North Dakota, Colorado and Nebraska. Although this was helpful for those who were able to take advantage of the Homestead Human activity, information technology was devastating for many Native Americans, who found themselves forced off of their land in club to make way for homesteaders.

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Another problem was that in that location were large numbers of people and companies that took advantage of the Homestead Deed in less-than-honest ways. It didn’t aid that some of the wording of the law wasn’t very specific and concluded up allowing people to use loopholes. For instance, the act stated that 12×14 homes had to exist built on each piece of land. Unfortunately, it didn’t specify that these measurements were in feet, then some people got around the requirement by building 12-inch by 14-inch “homes.”

Additionally, due to the nature of the West at the time, it was almost incommunicable to enforce the requirements of the Homestead Deed because there just weren’t enough regulators to make sure that everything was up to code. As a result, the National Archives reveals that “of some 500 million acres dispersed by the General State Part between 1862 and 1904, only 80 meg acres went to homesteaders. Indeed, pocket-sized farmers acquired more state nether the Homestead Act in the 20th century than in the 19th.”

Why Did the Homestead Act Come to an End?

While many people acquaintance the Homestead Act with pioneers of the 1800s, information technology really remained an active law until 1976. It did run across a major crash-land forth the mode, however, when President Franklin D. Roosevelt passed the Taylor Grazing Act of 1934.

Photograph Courtesy: National Park Service

The Taylor Grazing Act was intended to regulate cattle-grazing activities on public land, which had go over-grazed past farming activities that damaged the soil. Yet, the law also ended up turning a peachy bargain of rangeland into grazing districts managed by the Bureau of Country Management. The Homestead Human action finally met its official end in 1976 when it was replaced with the Federal Land Policy and Management Human action, which stated that “public lands be retained in Federal ownership.” This means the formerly public country that could’ve been eligible for Homestead Act settlers became property of the U.S. federal regime. Interestingly plenty, homesteading was however allowed in Alaska until 1986.

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By 1976, the Homestead Act seemed to take mostly run its course. The last person e’er to receive land nether the human activity was a man named Ken Deardorff, who filed a claim in 1974 and fulfilled all of the requirements past 1979. Unfortunately, it took until 1988 for the government to finally get his land patent to him for reasons that are still unknown.

History reveals that the first person ever to gain ownership of country nether the Homestead Act was a man named Daniel Freeman, who filed a merits in 1863 in Beatrice, Nebraska. Due to the significance of his merits, the Homestead National Historical Park was established just outside the pocket-sized Nebraska town. Daniel Freeman’s original homestead and the structure he built on it are notwithstanding a part of the park to this day.

Visitors to the Homestead National Historical Park tin also bask alive history demonstrations, craft, and more than at the park’s Homestead Educational Center. The park hosts a variety of other important buildings, such as a fourteen-pes past 16-foot cabin built in 1867 past a homesteader named George W. Palmer. Y’all tin also see the “Freeman School,” which served as a school for prairie children from 1872 until 1967. There’south even a museum full of artifacts and information from the homestead era, admission to genealogical data and miles of nature trails to explore, demonstrating the importance of the act and the touch information technology had on American history.

How Did Speculators Take Advantage of the Homestead Act